Carlos Cesar Salvador Arana Castaneda (25 December 1925 â 27 April 1998) was a Peruvian-born American anthropologist and author. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his purported training in traditional Mesoamerican shamanism. His 12 books have sold more than 8 million copies in 17 languages. The books and Castaneda, who rarely spoke in public about his work, have been controversial for many years. Supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness. For several years, anthropologists considered his work authentic and important, but then a number of exposÃ©s questioned Castaneda's veracity. Academic critics now claim the books are works of fiction, citing the books' internal contradictions, discrepancies between the books and anthropological data, alternate sources for Castaneda's detailed knowledge of shamanic practices and lack of corroborating evidence.